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Cops and Courts

Bond set at $1.25 million for former Avon Lake fire chief accused of rape (UPDATED)

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    Former Avon Lake Fire Chief Larry Grizzell appears in Elyria Municipal Court on Friday on charges of rape and sexual battery.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Bond for a former Avon Lake fire chief accused of rape was set at $1.25 million Friday morning in Elyria Municipal Court.

Larry Grizzell, 59, of Elyria, was arrested Monday on charges of rape and sexual battery by Elyria police, a day after police received a complaint alleging a sex offense against him.

On Tuesday, Grizzell was arraigned in Municipal Court in which Judge Robert White ordered him to be held on no bond.

“Mr. Grizzell, I told you at our arraignment that I would not set bond at that time,” White said in court Friday. “I wanted you to talk with a counselor, so that afterward the counselor could provide information on your state of mind and if you posed a risk to either yourself or the community.”

Prior to setting Grizzell’s bond, White addressed a request by Elyria police for a temporary protection order to keep Grizzell from contacting the alleged victim. Elyria police Sgt. Don Moss testified before White on the request.

“This case involves a very serious charge. Since the time of his incarceration on these charges, there’s been continued contact with the victim,” Moss said. “There’s been attempts to have the victim recant and, in our opinion, intimidate. We have grave concerns for her safety.”

An investigation by detectives found that Grizzell had sexually assaulted an acquaintance. As a result of the investigation, detectives signed warrants against Grizzell for first-degree felony rape and third-degree felony sexual battery, police have said.

Grizzell “made admissions regarding the offenses he was charged with,” when police interviewed him, officers have said.

The prosecutor in the case said “the state is seeking a substantially high bond” for Grizzell after talking with police about the facts of the case.

White set bond at $1.25 million, $750,000 for the count of rape and $500,000 for the count of sexual battery.

“After speaking with the counselor, I do find that you pose a reasonable risk of harm to yourself or others, and you do pose a flight risk,” White said. “That’s the reason you have a higher bond.”

Grizzell appeared before White without an attorney representing him. At his arraignment Tuesday, Grizzell requested a court-appointed attorney. White denied the request saying Grizzell was not eligible because of his income.

Grizzell told White, “I’ll try to hire one. I don’t know how to go about that.”

White told Grizzell he couldn’t give him advice on how to get that done.

Grizzell served as fire chief in Avon Lake for four years before stepping down in 2005, after months of internal strife between the chief and the city firefighters union. Grizzell remained with the department as a platoon lieutenant before retiring in 2015, according to the Avon Lake Fire Department.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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